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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. New.  

    September 13, 2010
    1:00 - 3:00pm EDT  

to become incontinent or impotent and other problems as well possibly. looking at that, gee, should men get screened for prostate cancer again if they've had one good screening and the answer is -- every man has to answer this on his own with his doctor. it is not an easy question to answer. in fact, some men choose not to get screened for prostat cancer at all, including i know the chief medical officer of the americ cancer society. he doesn't want any screening. all valid options. mething you can do, go to my twitter account. lizcoencnn and see a link to an "empowered patient" i wrote. takes you through step by step and also look at my book "the empowered patient "gone into its third printing and talks how to think through medical decision-making. tony? >> elizath, appreciate it. quickly,co "cnn newsroom" continues i velshi in new york city. ali? >> tony good to see you.
have a great afternoon. i'm ali velshi. tony says, here's what i have on the rundown. imagine looking out of your window and seeing this. i'm going to show you. what people in san bruno, california, saw last week. i'm going to show you more of this horrifying home video. plus a source of energy that supp the northeast for decades. residents say the process of getting this is tainting wer and ruining their lives. comes down to one word. fracking. the technology of touch could change the way we interact with our mobile devices and with one another. i'll show you mind-blowing concepts. first, summer vacation is over for members of congress. midterm elections just around the corner. so as lawmakers flock back to washington for a few short weeks of the people's business, one tax cuts. specifically whether to let the bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire, and for whom?l and for how mlong? as youay know, president obama
wants to keep the lower tax rates permanently for individuals earning less than $200,000 a year, and for households earning less tha $250,000. that's more than 97% of all taxpayers he wants to continue tax breaks for. for everybody else, let the top rates revert from the current 33% and 35% to the pre-2001 39.6%.of an36% and . a high earner, that will pack a punch. don't ask your paints or grandparents for sympathy. op rates over or the past 100 years. mid-1970s, top earners, thisto important to remember, as much as 70% of incomes to u.s. treasury. mid-50s, 91%. t after world jus war ii, check that out. this is is not a mistake. the nation's top income tax rate was a staggering 94%. now, right now, 2010, the goal, juice the economy without ballooning the deficit anymore
than necessary. supporters the tax relief say extra income translates directly intoxtra spending. the less you earn the more likely you are to save, to uses the money that you not pay in taxes for daily expenses. taxes for the wealth hey a more round-about effect. might be have extra spending but also the possibility of more saving and investi. the investing part to lead to more hiring. especially if you invest in a start-up business. hired more people. those people spend andve a verc virtuous cycle begins. not a sure thin. republicans and some democrats want to keep the bush tax rates for everybody. president obama saysri keeping e richest 2% or 3% at current rates would ad $700 billion to the deficit. we expect to hear live from the president in just just about an hour from a backyard in irfax, virginia. somebody's backyard. ro the topic of help for small business.
small business is the growth engine ofco jobs in this countr. do they get eleaf? in the meantime, seniorhite house correspondent ed henry joins me to talk about taxes, politics, a stubborn economy and an election. ed? >> reporter: rig. as you lay that out, the new development here this morning, this afternoon is that this white house feels that over th weekend it sort of was a boehner blink if you will. the house republican leader sort of shifted his position. he was on cbs yesterday and was basically saying th he could support just moving forward on extending the bush taxuts for the middle class. as you just defined. individuals making $200,000 or less per year. families makes $250,000 oress we are year nap is the. obama position. remember, the president on friday gave republican as push at that news conference here at the white house and basically the middle class hostage. go forward with extending the middle class tax cuts and forget about the tax cuts for the rich.
the republicans, like john boehner, had said for weeks and months, you've got to t extend l of the tax cuts. for the rich, the middle class, everyone, for at least a couple more years. bottom line, yesterday john boehner signaled the first time he might be able to swallow jt moving forward on the middle class tax cuts, essentially, letting the cuts for the rich set ide for now. a big development -- >> that's how i would have interpreted it. i know a lot about the business side. how does a guy like you knows about the politics of this feels about this somewhere play the john boehner kplip a second i don't know wheth he was saying support it or given no other choice support it. listen to what he said. >> if the only option i have, to vote for some of those tax reductio reductions, i'vote for them. but i've been making the point w now for months that we need to extend all the curnt rates for all americans if we want to get our economy going again, and if
we want jobs in america. >> the implication there, ed is that if he didn't have to vote for just extending them for the middle class he would want to do something else. or if thepeaker of the house after an election. look at a recent poll thatat cn that they did. the question should tax cuts contin for all americans? only 13% of democrats think so. 34% of independents think so -- a different poll. look at this one anyway. 31% think they should continue for all americans like john boehner says. 51% thinks they should continue for those households earning less than $250,000. that's what obama is looking for. and no one thinks -- 18% think that these tax cuts shouldn't be continued for yone. the 18% is interesting, ed, because if you - -- extend the x cuts even for the middle class, going to cost $300 trillion -
sorry. it's going to add $3 trillion to the deficit. >> reporter: right. well, long term. interesting, because, you know, this white house will say, look, we can't afford t cuts g fongthe rich. it's going to blloon the deficit. right. they're in favor of tax cuts for the middle class extended without paying for them. that will balloon the deficits well. noxtt as mucas extending tax cuts for the rich. but still balloon the deficit. bottom line, boehner preferred not to move forward on the middle class tax cuts. clearly wants to pass the tax cuts for the rich, but for the first time we're hearing him say, look, if this is a stand alone bill, moving forward. big development for the white house. the challenge for democrats on the hill just coming back to work, a narrow window of a few weeks before they go back to the campaign trail full time. do they bring up the middle class tax cuts, extendingush tax cuts as a stand alone bill and call janor out and give a
choice ed heading into november? the other hand, small business tax cut bill the president has had on the senate floor a while. that's pending. a new proposal from last week, $200 bill for small businesses writing off commitment and new plants and finally this $100 billion tax cut on research and development. bottom line, all these are piling up in a couple weeks' time. bottom line, this white house feels maybe for the first time in a long time they've got the republicans on the defensive ever so slightly on this middle class tax f cut. the white houseor week has been on the defensive. finally seized upon something they were run with. >> and in a tshell, why has that happened? what made this shift happen? the white house, you laid out the things that the president outlined la week for $350 billion. the fact is have theyee bn throwing spaghetti against the wall and it' not sticking. why all of a sudden this shift, from boehner? why are the republicans on the
defensive? >> when you talk to top democrats in private some with others on tration, capitol hill and elsewhere thk the presidentas not taking the fight directly to republicans for some time. last week what did he do? went out and really beat up on john boehner. pushed thi s idea of a choins between republicans and democrats. talked about it before. you saw a fired up president last went in cleveland. friday, pundits ying you didn't say anything new pt the news conference. he did suc tceed in framing thi as, don't hold the middle class host aage. that you need to at least move rward on those tax cuts. 48 hours later john boehner's on cbs's "face the nation" shifting his position. it's clear that they're not there yet in tes of holding control of congress but the first time found something seizing on the middle class aspect, put republicans on their heels. maybe temp rare -- terare-tempo
>> unbelievable. last week's gas explosion in n , california. it show as massive fireball melting everything in sight.ay you're about to see it. stay with us. weome to progressive. nice calculator. i'm just trying to save money on my car inrance. you know, with progressive, you get the option to name your price. is that even possible? uh, absolutely. trade? and i still get great service? more like super great.oh oh, you have a message. "hello."
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here, bid $79. got it. w! you win this time good twin! there's no disguising the real deal. people living in san bruno just outside san francisco are returning home ruin. a natural gas explosion thursday sparked a huge fire that killed at least four people flattening more than three dozen hos and if you haven't seen the pictures it's really remarkable. first, check out this unbelievable home video. >> is th a plane crash?
>> oh, my god. >> could this have been avoided? turns out serious safety kearns reported long before the explosion. cnn's ted rollins follows this closely from whenhappened and joins us from san bruno.r: hi, ted. >> reporter: hey, ali. the saty concerns really did stem back a few years. the concern was that this pipe was ol that it needed to be replaced. the concern came from pg&e, and the cost estimate, they characterized this pipe as be g being -- a concern because it could fail. when they say fail or concern. they're not talking about an
explosion. nobody thought think could happen. king a gas leak, maybe a loss of service. this really was something nobody had on their radar not a situation where pg&e didn't fix something and now there was an explosion. the investigation continues into what exactly did happen, and a lot of the investigation is on that pipe. if you look in the distance you can see that they are concentrating on that area inside the perimeter of that fence builup. the.s where i blew, and that is where the crater now is. earlier this morning, they took out a fairly large section of that pipe and put it into crates and hav shipped it off to washington, d.c. the ntsb isishe lead organization in this investigation. they're ing to analyze that piece of pipe and a couple more pieces they're dissect off today and ship outn. t washington. also they are looking at home viderv looking at surveillance video. that home video we showed you earlier. they're looking at that. and other pieces ofo, video, because every piece of information is going to be in analyzed in this, because, quite
frankly, right now, ali, it's a mystery why this failed an why it exploded. and caused so much devastation. we did ta to a homeowner that came's iwith us yesterday. he is the gentleman that shot the home video bp here's what he said after surveying what is left of his neighborhood. >> just looking at all this. i mean, i -- i saw all this from the news, but being here, first time coming up here and looking at all this, it was just -- no rds. i can't really explain. >> reporter: to give you perspective, that video was shot from this house. that's the balcony up there. we're a pretty good distance away. but when you looked at the video, the flame was right off hathe balcony, and that just gis you a sense of how intensethat fireball was, ap obviously you could hear the emotion in his voice shooting the video.
that's how far away he was. >> what about theguy has reported he been smelling gas for some time. has anything come of that? >> reporter: pg&e says that at this point they haven't been able to establish a record of their crews coming out and analyzing this exact pipe, but that's one of the major things the ntsb is doing. in fact, publicly asking people that smell gas to talk to them and they're analyzing what clue may have been there in the days and hours before this blast, and that will be something that's scrutinized heavily, because, of course, the reason theyng selle it is a warning system. u can't smell natural gas. the only reason you can smell it, the power company puts it in as a warning. if they weren't heeded that will be -- one of the things they'll really look at. >> yeah. one of those things everybody is interested in findin g a solution for, because so much of the country uses natural gas and they want to make sure that's not going to happen in their neighborhood. ted, good to see pup thanks for speed, san up to bruno, california, just outside
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lehman brother fls 2008 almost exactly would years ago set off a world bank crisis that baered the world's economy two years later thousand stop that from happening again. banking regulator from 27 countries, met in switzerland yesterday hash out safeguas to keep our money safer. agreeing on a bigger cushion for how much cash banks have to hold on to in a rainy day fund if the economy tanks. seems like a great idea. bigger buffer to keep money safer. forcing banks to staff cash could impact their ability to
lend. colin barr, a senior writer. good to see pup thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> is there anything that these world financial regulators can do orave done that p could actually prevent what happpenie two years ago from happening again? >> they're on the right track. saying you have to hold more money. not going to have another situation whereveryone levers up to the sky. >> right. >> that's important. the other thing is that the experience in 2008 was bad for everyone. even for the bankers who kept their bonuses. >> sure. >> people didn't like having their -- >> nobody wants this happening again. >> right. >> tell me has you mean when yoe say -- we talk about this generally but talk about not being so levered up, not having so much leverage. what does that mean? to my viers what does that all mean? >> all the banks borrowed so much money, easy to borrow, very cleep. everyone assumed there would never be another banking crisis or recession, some thought. some thought we, everything was
going to grow to the sky. lots of homeowners did like the bank, borrowed, didn't have the ability to pay. these rules will keep that from happening again. borrowed much more than the average person,li leveraging the ability t translate one dollar into many more is not only common in the banking industry it's what it's been built on in recent decades? >> it makes it work. they get you $10 and can do $100 in lending. that's okay. the problem, doing more than $100 in lending and using that money to buy things that were not -- >> the house of cards we were talking about. of cards. us >> what would you say in lay terms was the big accomplishment out of this meeting that took sw place in switzerland? >> everybody's on the same page, we need more capital. europe didn't want levels this high. the united states was one of the groups, countries, pushing for stnger regulation. so bank stock, up today. a part of that because the
regulations aren't quite at stringent as people thought they would be. d but it's definitely a step ingh. before banks able to go 50-1. equal to 50-1 on eve ry dollar. this keeps that to 12-1, smk like that. >> some companies operate successfully. bottom line have a prosperous economy. with everybody taking a certain amount of risk? >> right. we have to more patient. part of the problem with the lastte crisis, everyone wanted everything right now. that's -- this is the end of that mind-set. we hope. >> what about this fearless lend lg take place? in an environment a lotf b people say, if banks were lending more, particularly to small businesses think economy could get going faster than it is. does this crimp that? >> unfounately probably does, only a little bit. the bankers say a huge problem for the economy. we all know actually what's happening is a lot of people just said to themselves i can't afford do could that again. can't afford that much debt. the banks maybe are being little too stingy but at the same time a lot of borrowers are
not looking for money the way they were before. a lot of peoe are saying i'm not going there again. >> stingy and safe are two sides of the same coin sometimesen unfortunately that's the truth. >> you can read colin's stuff as a scenier writer with "fortune" magazine. we discussed this at length on my show, "your $$$$$" saturdays at 1:00 p.m. each time and sundays at 3:00 p.m. eastern. international gas trapped in the ground below us. the costs of getting through to it using a method called fracking are pretty high. is this aa bonanza or a bust? a look at fracking when i come back.
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as we've seen in the gulf of mexico oil and gas reserves can be a blessing and curse. bringing jobs money, give us the energy we need but also environmental rivsks. deal wig that say dichotom protesters from binghamton, new york, north of here, holding a hearing on drilling for natural gas using a method called fracking, freeing up gas reserves trapped in rock or shale deep underground. that would be a big boon to the goal of independent, but all stuck here in the united states. why the opposition? to practice you've got to shoot millions of gallons and water and chemicals at high pressure down into the ground and that's got so folks worry about the water table and for potential for contamination. one area resident in new york, in nnsylvia, actually, says hiwell water is practically
flammable. we'll talk about that in aof little while. the site of today's epa hearing is smack in the middle of the controversy, by the y. binghamton is part of wat's called the marcellus shale, one of the largest natural gas deposits in the country. josh levs joins me to give me an idea of the area and the assets we're talking about. josh, we started talking about this, we need you to just usintroduce this to us. most have not heard of marcellus shal unless you're in the affected ar >> it's huge. underneath the country, "fortune" rightfully call as gold mine. the amount is insane. numbers in a second. big picture, talking about an ancient rock formation. ancient sedimentary rock formation going back 350 million years, actually the remnants created the catskills. a picture showing some of the operation thats takes to extract natural gas. a good shot. his nt to get you to now t map here. look how huge it is. evonhing that's yellow on this
hemap is part of the marcellus shell formation. looking at how huge it is talking west virginia, parts of tennessee. all over pennsylvania, parts of ohio, way into the north and spread out throughout this area. ere's a penn state stud they says 489ubic million gas. morehan 20 times we in the u.s. use in one year. that's how big. massive in and of itself. >> the idea here, they could have decades of natural gas outh there, which is by the way what a lot of americans use to power their homes. it's a clnea burning gas but not easy -- think about this. you don't have to be alo geologt or scientist to think about getting, extracting a gas froo.a rock. >> no. it's really hard. this is part of the concern people have. ngin fact, since we're talking about it, go to the video from thel marcellus shell coalition, which says it works with sponsible partners to try to bring about responsible drilling and ways to bring up the
international gas. they talk about the ways to go about doing it in their view. more figures, this gas deposit, the rtstake, could be woh $2 trillion. that why there's so many companies already going for this. you've got shell gas production already accnting for1/5's the gas consumption according to an m.i.t. study. expected to collect half by 2030. h then take thisncre and start getting it outan fast and the time that some people are looking for natural gas. a lot less in the summer. the fact is, high demand mkets in that region. you've got new york and new england, all of those people there. if they can get it out, the stakes are, incredibly huge, wh cnn money points to this as an investment bubble. all that said, talking about environmental concerns. jump to this last video. the story we got out of pennsylvania. in june of this year. ali you know about this.
a leak for a little while. clearfield count think. left natur gas, polluting drilng water poured out 16 hours. serious concerns about this. the economic stakes couldn't be huger, ali. d trillions of dollars here. >> and like we said, lik we saw in the gulf of mexico, bottom line, we consume more energy than anyon in the world. disproportionately here in the united states, muchte imported when it comes to eopl. a lot of people say the more natural gas we can produce turhe better for our foeconomy better for not depending on other countries, but there are costs to all this, josh. nice job of pointing that out. thanks. we'll tell you more about this. we've seen the numbers, heard the arguments. had we come back, we'll meet folks who say they have been fracked over their well water going from fresh water to ki flammable water, because of fracking. we'll tell you aut that. [ female announcer ] stay once...
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they call themselves pennsylvanian leasing land rights to a natural gas driller. the process of ex-tracting exacted way too high a price. more from drew griffin of cnn's special investigations unit. andhis is the gas went down came back and blew out the
hole turn it up, wer blocked that burns flame off the top. >> reporter: the gas bubbles through his well. >> you can see now, you can't see even the hose in the bottom of that. because that's all gas. >> it was at one time clear. >> clear. crystal clr. >> reporter: it steams off like alka-seltzers in his chicken coop he cashow you the flame. what's causing this? he says li a lot of people in eastern rural pennsylvania, like others, he has been fracked. this area is seeing a boom in the natural gas business, because of a geological formation known as the marcellus shale and a drilling process ul. called hydraulic fracturing. fracking, as it's known, drills down and sideways into the massive shale rock that lies thousands of feet below, injecting mostly water and some chemicals, which cause many earthquakes. that fractures the rock, releasing clear, odorless, floating gold.
natural gas trapped inside the marcellus shale. hundreds of trillions of cubic feet worth. enough to supply the northeast for decades to come. greg and julie say they, too, are being fracked. >> i'm going to play a litvitle devil's advocate with that's a little why they say i they're doing this. because this is clean fuel? >> it's not clean. it's a fossil fuel. any fossil fuel, coal, oil, gas, is -- they don't see the dirty side. this is the dirty side of natural gas. it's clean to burn but it's not clean to get. >> reporter: like bill, this well is poison. pennsylvania's department of environmental protection confirmed it and is now forcing the gas exploration company, cabot oil and gas, to truck in clean drinking water. though cabot denies its process of fracturing is contaminating anything. citing a 2004 epa study which
found only a minimal threat to underground drinking water and toldnn, we don't believe the process is contaminating the groundwater. as a technology it's proven in and safe. they don't buy it. they are suing. he wants a clean water source to his home and want ts paid for a house that now has a methane release stack in his front yard. >> to keep it from blowing up. yes. >> reporter: and a neighborhood, he says that is sometimes fogged in with methane mist. >>ill this become a ghost town some day? >> maybe. i certainly don't want to live here anymore. >> reporter: drew griffin, pennsylvania. over the next hour and a half or so we'll talk more about fracking, bring you up to speed what this debate is about. an erican woman caught in the middle of political ira tur battles in iran. the newest twist, sarah shourd will be eed once she pays half
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time for globe trekking. sarah shourd remains involved in the confusing web of politics. they said she'd be freed last saturday. you recall, detained and accused of spying after allegedly spying in iran while hiking in iraq. charges rejected as groundless answers demanded americans be released. however the day after, iran's judiciary run by one of the
president's rive manies cancelled the release saying the move was illegal. shourd will be freed once she pays a $500,000 bail. shourd's mother has not received treatment for medical problems including a breast lump and precervical cancerous cels. she is happy but wishes her two friends could be freed with her. and amnrtesty international out way new report saying up to 30,000 people held without charge. human rights group says some of the prisoners have been beaten, possibly tortured. in fact, amnesty says the use of torture to extract confessions in iraq routine. both the iraqi government and u.s. mitary deny the allegations. a spokesman for iraq's prime minister says the figure up positive 30,000 detained is extremely exaggerated. this following the transfer of up to 10,000 detainees from u.s. custody to iraqi cntrol following the recent end of american combat operations. what does jerry brown's 20-year-old tip with bill
clinton have to do withthis year's california governor's race? the latest from the political ticker coming up next. bu [ male announcer ] this is rachel, a busy mom.
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checking top storieses house
minority leader john boehner says he'll back president obama's tax cut plan if no other option. the president is pushing to extend bush era tax cuts for the middle class, not for people making over $200,000 and for curbing earning more than $ 50,000. expect this issue to dominate congress in the final weeks before the midterm elections. hurricane igor intensified to a category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of nearly 150 miles an hour. look at this view of the massive storm from space. the nationalhurricane center says igor could reach category five. the most powerful level on the scale used to measure hurricant strength. right now igor is still pretty far outnt the atlantic ocean. in veneela, officials say at least 23 peoplera surved a plane crash in the southeastern part of the country. a plane from a governmentwned airline crashed shortly after taking off with at least 47 people onboard. no word on casualties. a witness w the plane hit power lines before crashing and oeding.
time for a cnnpd equa pohtlitics update right now.woin wolf blitzer in washington with the hour's political headlines. good to see you. what's crossing the ticker now? >> ali, always a lot of politics. especially now. only a few weeks away, as you know, from the mid-term elections. a fascinating story, we moved it on our politicalis ticker about this feud. a feud. i remember covering it back in '92 between jerry brown and bill clinton athe time. both wanted to be president of the united states. bill clinton wound up getting theemocratic presidential nonation, but angry words exchgejed. now jerry brown wants to be the next governor once again of california. he's in a fight with meg whitman for that. meg witman has an effective powerful ad running citing bill clinton, quotes him on tape blasting jerry brown for supposedly raising taxes in california. this fight between jerry brown and bill clinton now coming
back. meg whitman being the recipient, beneficiary of this bruising battle right. >> now. another story we're watching is charlie crist in florida, the independent candidate for the u.s. senate. he's got new ads, tv ads out there right now. what he's trying to do is show that he's in the middle. he wants to work with democrats, with republicans. he's trying to be mark rubio, and he's casting himself as someone who can work with both sides. and finally, this is a surprise. in texas, the race for governor there, incumbent rick perry, in a fight now with the former houston mayor bill white. this new poll in texas showed only a six-point lead for rick perry. a lot closer than a lot of people may have thought. we'll cover that, all of the politics, as you know, ali, ino "the situation room" later today as we always do here on cnn. >> wolf, always a pleasure to see you and a particular t pleasure to have you heren our
show. we'll check in later. wolf blitzer in the cnn political center. and your next update is just t hour away. from iphones to ipads to tablet computers, clearly, touch screen technology is here. where, however, it going? if you've thought you've seen it all when it comes to mobile device, brace yourself to the big eye. you inspired a very special dog food. [ female announcer ] chef michael's canine creations. chef inspid. dog desired. t adwiwiout food al t
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instead of mailing out checks for 59 cents each. now that's progress. visa. currency of progress. today's big i segment. touch screen technology, i xrooens, ipads, other technology. curious what the future holds with respect to screens. one innovative design firm in sweden called tac put together a contest for ideas about the
future of screen technology an put together this video. wha a normal day mit look like in 2014. waking up, stretching his phone out to allow for a larger viewing area. malleable. next a woman in herin bathroom interacting with her mobile device through the m irror as she brushes her teeth. able to read ws, check the calendar, the time, all that through the mirror. what happens when you go to work? two guys using a trance parent uch screkeen monitor. this is like that movieith tom cruise in it. they'rable to flip theh,creen through touch, sharero images across the desk, get approval for projects by touching them. it also acts as a caldar and news feed. two guys on a park bench sharing an image. all they do is drag it from one phone to another literally. watch this. they're about to -- there you go. there you go.
current tach technology can be found worldwide. it's just a snapshot what you can find in mobile devices in the future. a lot of people banking on th fact that touch and visual are the technologies that will dominate our future. our other big e"i." joining the lunar x-prize. it offers $20 million to the first group that can build and launch a privately funded spacecraft that can explore and transmit images from the moon. rocket city space pioneers are head quartering in huntsville, alabama. they're among 23 teams registered in the competition. to win the grand prize the team must successfully land on the moon, move around on the surface 1500 feet and transmit video and images back to earth. the x-prize foundation an educational nonprofi institute. complete touch screen technology
from tach and to read up on the google lunar x-prize head to my blog happy birthday to super mario. after 25 years he's still in the game and not a touch of gray hair in that mustache. [ male announcer ] even before science was science,
fire was fire. and the first language, the language of chemistry, was universal and eloquent. and the unique ability of chemistry to change everything has never changed. it is still the hope of humahistory to come. it is still the bond in partial between the elements. hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and human.
aspercreme breaks the grip, with maximum-strength medicine and no embarrassing odor. break the grip of pain with aspercreme. all right. "odds and ends now." put out the candelabra, the show is over. the liberace museum in las vegas will close after the centuries of sensory overload. liberace played the piano but that was the least of it. the word flamboyant seemed to have been made for him. he performed in case and sequins
and sometimes pink turkey feathers. mirrored tiles onthem. topped by his signature candelabra. his museum used to $450,000 people a year but 23 years after his death the numbere of people who remember him is shrinking. throw in the recession, only about 35,000 have been to the museum so far this year. costumes and props will go into storage. let'so to fairfax, virginia, now. the president is there. he is meeting with a local family. and that's not the prident. that's the president. and he's meeting with a lnocal family in their backyard. he's then going to be hosting an disssion with some neighbors and some local small business owners. can't see yet who he's talking to. maybe he has a bunch of people there. he's about to talk. let's listen to him. >> thank you to the entire family for opening up. and thanks to all of you for taking the time to be here because i want to -- i was
telling john and nicole that a lot of times when you're in washington, you're busy. you've got a lot of stuff to do and you're in a bubble when you're president. and sometimes you just don't have the opportunity to have the kinds of interactions that i used to have even when i was a senator. and so these kinds of formats are terrific for me, and my hope is despite all these people who are here with cameras and microphones and all that stuff that people won't be shy, because the whole point of this is for me to hear directly from you and answer your questions. hear about your concerns, hear about your hopes and hopefully that will translate itself into some of the things that we're doing at the white house. i obviouslye want to make some introductions that i think all of you kwno that you've got some members of congress who are working very hard here in northern virginia and i want to acknowledge rsthem. first of all, congressman jim o
moran has been doing great work for a very long time. congressman jerry conwayri has been doing terrific work here locally and now on capitol hill. mathe chairman of the fairfax is county board of commissioners and we've alsoot a couple of small business owners because one of the things wanlt to talk about is how we can grow the economy and get peopleack to work. and so who better to hear from than a couple of small business owners.ry don't worry. i'm notu going to call on you bt i'm glad you're hhere. first of all cheryl hurt who owns the as we grow learning center. thank you for being here. and larry poltofov who is the chairman of a small business. i'm only going to say a few things at the top. and i want to talk a little bit
about why i startdecided to run president in the first place in 2007, 2008. having served as ate senator, having then served as a united states senator, i had had a chance to see how economic policies were hang an effect on working class families and middle class families for a long time. and my wife and i, we came out of hard working families who didn't have a lot. but because the economy was growing, because there was an emphasis on what was good for the middle class, we were able to get a great education. we were able to get scholarsh s scholarships. michelle's dad worked as a blue collar worker but just on that one salary he was able to provide for his family and make sure that they always had enough and the kids had opportunities. and what it seems like was for about a decade there, mide class families were losing more
and more ground. and some of that had to do with changes in themy global economy and greater competition from around the world. but a lot of it had to do with the policies that had been put in place which really boiled down to cutting taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires, cutting regulations that made consumers and workers more vulnerable, failing to make investments that were so critical in growing our middle class overhe long term. and so when i ran for president, my goal was to make sure that we get a set of economic policies in place that would lay the foundation f long-term growth in the 21st century so that the 21st century would be an american century just like the 20th century had been. that's what we've tried to do over the last 19 months in te midst of the worst financial crisis that we've seen since the
great depression. the first thing we had to do wsa just stop the bleeding, stabilize the financial system and make sure we didn't trip into a deat depression and we have done that. so when i was sworn in on that very cold day in january, some of you may remember, we lost 750,000 jobs in that month alone. now we've seen eight consecutive months of private sector job growth because of the policies we put in place. we were on the verge of financial meltdown. anybody who was involved in business athat time remembers banks were not lending at l. you couldn't even get an auto loan or a consumer loan. and now the financial systems have tabilized, although they're not completely where we need tm heto be. the economy was shrinking at a pace of -- an astounding pace of about 6% annually. and now the economy has been t growing. so we stoppedhe bleeding,
stabilized the economy. but the fact of the matter is that the pace of irovementbe has not been where it needs to be. and the hole that we have dug ourselves in was enormous we lost 4 million jobs in the last six months of 2008. when i was still running. we lost 4 million jobs. and all told we lost 8 million jobs. we haven't been able to make up for those 8 million jobs. that's an enormous challenge. the secretary part of the challenge, though, is to make sure even as we're digging ourselves out of this hole we start making some better decisions so long term we don't find ourselves in the circumstance again and we start creating the kind of economy that's working for middle class families. so a couple of things we did on that front. we cut classes for middle tax
families because we understa people's incomes a wages have not gone up, kept pace with increases in health care and college and so forth. the second thing thator we felt was very important was to start creating some rules of the road again. so in financial services, for example, we passed a financial regulatory bill to make sure that we're not going to have taxpayer bailouts, make sure e a banks have to oper little bit more responsibly and take less risks with the money that they're investing. and we also made sure that consumers are treated more fairly, because part of what happened in this financial crisis was people were getting mortgages that they didn't understand. suddenly the bottom fell out of the housing market and banks found themselves in a crisis situation. so what we' said is, let's make sure that consumers know exactly the kinds of mortgages they're getting. let's make sure that they can't be steered into these balloon-type payments where
there's no cnce that over the long term they're going to be able to make their payments. let's make sure that credit card companies have to notify you if they're going to increase your interest rates. urand let's make sure that they can't increase your interest rates on your existing balances. only on future balances. so that th yey're not trking you into suddenly paying exorbitant fees and putting you into a hole over the long literm. jerry likes that one. so we set up a bunch of rules both in the financial seices area, in the housing sector, and in health care. and i know that a lot of people here heard a lot about the alth care bill. one of the most important things that tt was about was making sure that insurance companies eated you fairly. so if you'vegot health insurance, companies are not going to be able to drop you ppom coverage when you get sick, which is part of what had been happening. they couldn't deny you insurance because of a preexisting condition if your child had ach
preexisting condition, which obviously makes families enormously vulnerables. so a set of rules of the road for how companies interact with consumers, how they interact with workers. and then the final thing that we've tried to do to lay this foundation for long-term economic growth, is to put our investments in those things that are really going tomake us more competitive over the long term. so we have made the largest investment in research and development, in basic research and science, in our history. because that's going to determine whether we can compete with china, india and germany over the long term. are we inventi stuff here that we can then export overseas? we're making investments in our infrastructure because we can't ve a second cla infrastructure and expect to have a first class economy. just an interesting statistic over the last decade, china spends about 9% of its gross
domestic product on infrastructure. europe spends about 5%. we've been spending 2%. and that's part of the reason why we no longer have the best airports, we no longer have the best rail systems, we don't have the best broadband service. south korea has better broadband service and wireless service than we do. and over time, that adds up. it makes us less competitive.s so what we've said is we've got in ake investments infrastructure. a third area, education. a generation ago, we had the highest proportion of college graduates of any country in the world. we now rank 11th or 12thn the proportion of college graduates. well, we can't winfo in an information ciety, in a global
technologically wired economy unss we're winning that battle to msure our kids can compete. so what we've said is we're going to put more money into higher education and k through 12. but here's the catch. the money is only going to go to those communities that are serious about reforming their education system so they work ll, because it's -- education is not just matter of putting more money into it. you also have to make sure that we've got theac best teachers, that we've got accountability, that the way we'rer designing or schools help our kids actually succeed over the long term. especially in areas of math and science where we're lagging even further behind than we were a generation a ago. so those are the tngs that we've gone trying to do over the last 19 months. now, as i said before, the economy is growing, but it's not growing as fast as we would like. so over te last week, i've put
forward a few more things that i y can make a difference. number one, instead of giving tax breaks to companies that are investing overseas, which our tax code does right now, what i've said is let's close those tax loopholes and let's ovide tax br to companies that are investing in research and development here this - -- in t united states. that's a smart thing to do. we want to encininnocent i've businesses here. second i want to propose that we allow companies to write off essentially new investments early if they make those investments here in 2011. so essentially accelerating the deprooeshtion they can take on their taxes to encourage front load making investments now. the third thing we proposedng a
this is actually pending in the united states senate because jerry and jim have alreadyvoted on it -- is a small business packagthat would eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses, would help small businesses obtain loans. it is a common sense bill that traditionally would have garnered a lot of bipartisan support but we're in the political silly season right now, so it's been blocked up by the senate republicans for the last months and a half, two months. small businesses are still having trouble getting loans. and what we want to do, even though we've already given them eight different tax breaks, is we want to y, we're going to give you just a little bit more incentive because if we can get small businesses growing and investing and opening their doors and hiring new workers, that's probably going to be the area where we can make the mose progress over the next year in terms of accelerating empl oyment and reducing the unemployment rate. so these are all steps that
we're taking right now to try to move the economy forward. now, iavn never been more confident about the future of our economy if we stay on track and we deal with some of these long-standing problems that we dn't dealt with fordecades. if we make investments and improve our education system, if we make investments in research and development, if we make investments in things like clean energy so that we've got an energy policy that's not just tied to importing oil from the middle east but itengad start figuring how to develop our ri home-grown industries, if we have a tax system that is fair and helps the middle class and that also attends to our long-term deficit problems, if heavyulate but not with a hand, just regulate enough to make sure that we don't have a collapse of the financial system
and consumers aren't taken advantage ofnd health insurance companies are responsive to ordinary families, if we do those things, there's no reason why we can't succeed. and i've traveled all around the world and looked at allec the economic data. if you had a choice of which country you'd want to be, you'd still want to be in the united states of america. we still have a huge competitive edge and we've got the best workers in the world and we've got the most dynamic economy in the world, we've got the best universities, the best epreneurs in the world. but 've got toackle these long-standing problems that have been getting in the way of pr ogress and we've got to do i now. we can't wait another 20 years or anoer 30 years because otherountries are catching up. that's what we've been trying to do over the last two years. now, some of tse things i've got to admit are hard. they cause grt consternation.
when we tried to get some common sense rules in the finansecial sector, for example, that means billions of dollars that were going to profits to some of the banks are not going to be going there because you're getting a better deal on your credit card and they're not happy abo it. so that ends up creating a lot of drama on capitol hill. and it means that we've hadome very contentious debates. but i just want to close by saying this. ultimately, when i get out of washington and i start talking to families like yours, what i'm struck by is not how divided the ucouny is, but i'm struck by how basically people have common values, common concerns and common hopes. they want to be able to find a job that pays a decent wage, give their family and their children in particular a bright futiture, be able to retire wit
some dignity and respect, not get bankrupt when they get sick. and that cuts across region. it cuts across racial lines, across -- cuts across religious or ethnic lines. people -- there's a corset of american values thatin think people across the country reond to. and what i want to do is make sure that the government is on the side of those values of responsibility and hard work and king about future generations and not jus thinking about the next election. and i think we've made progress, but we've got more progress to make. so with that, i thank you all for being here.o and what i want to do is i just want to knanswerolquestions. i ow folks in the sun are hot so i'm going to stand in the sun so you make sure you know that i feel your pain as a -- abso absolutely. i wouldn't mind having that hat, though. that's helpful. i should have thought ahead. okay.
anybody want to -- john, go ahead. hold on a second. i'll give you a mike. >> thank you very much for coming. we really appreciate it. it's a great opportunity. i'm an gineer and you talked a lot about r&d and infrastructure and every -- i love every dollar spent on that by definition. i'm also a paraplegic and we -- i have a great interest in stem-cell research and how it gets furthered. h we get this issue to be a scienti fic issue sin stead of a political issue? >> john, as you know, i have been a huge supporter of stem-cell research for a very long time. when i cam into office, we said that what's going to govern our decision-making here is sound science. there are legitimatethal issues involved in all this -- the biotech industry. and those are going to continue as time goes on. i mean, there's some very tricky questions, and we've got to make
sure that our values and our ethical standards are incorporated in everything we do, but we've also got to ke sure that we're making decisions not bas on ideology but based on what the science says. the executive order that i signed would say that we are not going to create embryos to destroy for scientific research. we're not going to do that. on the other hand, when you have a whole bunch of embryos that were created because families were trying to -- couples were trying to start a familyth and through in vitro fertilization theye frozen in some canister somewhere and e going to be discarded anyway, then it makes sense for us too take those tha are going to be destroyed and use them to advance our scientific knowledge tsee if at some point we can start
making huge progress on a whol set of issues. obviously, spinal cord injuries are an examp, but parkinson's disease, alzheimer's disease, diabetes, juvenile diabetes. there's not a single family here who has not in some way been touched by a disease that could end up benefiting from the research that's de on stem cells. now, recently, a distrt court judge said that not only -- well, essentially said that our executive order, he felt, went too far beyond what conthe guidelines that congress h provided before i came into office, although the way he had written the order, it made it seem like even bush's orders were out of line and you have to stop stem-cell research altogether. we are appealing that. we're challenging it. and what we're going to keep on doing on a whole rge of these
decisions is to make sure that i'm talking to scientists and h e ethicists and build a common sense consensus that allows us to make progress over the long term. okay? yeah. go ahead. >> mr. president, it's a privilege for me to be here. you talk about small business loans. ecmy company is a high tech company and we e growing and we are providing high tech jobs for americans. how ca we ensure that banking and lending institutions are going to actually lend money to small businesses? there have been a number of eps down in that way, but so far i've been denied a loan twice and only got the -- for the third time, after i asd for sba-backed loan. >> tell me more about your business, by the way. i've actually read about it but tell people here wouldin be interested -- because you're
working on clean energy issues. >> this is correct, yes. i have two lines of business, clean energy part where we are dctually trying to get companies to become green and change their practices so that they follow sustainability oce practice in regular ways. and the second part of my business is high tech. we're doing i.t. consulting and i.t. services for federal government and fortune 500 companies. >> how many employees do you have right now? >> about 94. >> 94? >> yes. >> well, look, part of the answer is what you already spoke about, which is sba, the small business administration we have doubled the number of small business loans that we've been giving through the sba. we waived a lot of fees on those loanbecamae we knew that small businesses were getting harder hit than just abou anybody during the financial crisis. they were the ones where the banks were pulling back the most.
so we tried to fill that void as the banks werewe getting well, makingul sure the small business could keep their doors open. but even by doubling the number of sba loans there's still not enough pital to meet the demand for small businesses across the country. that's why this bill tt we're looking to pass this week out of the senate and thatji jerry and jim already voted for is so simple. because what it would do is it authorizationding to provide to community banks who are most likely to give loans to small businesses. but it would say to those banks, you know what, we're going tobl hold you accountable for actually lending the money. so -- because what we don't want to do is just help the banks boost their balance sheets but they're never getting the money out of the door. over the long term, we think that there are going to be enormous opportunities for banks
to make money with businesses like yours, because yours are the ones that grow. but they're still feeling gun shy because of what happened on wall street. and in fairness to a lot of the community banks, they weren't the ones who were making big bets on derivatives, but they were punished, nonetheless. they've been hit really hard in the housing market. they've been hit on their portfolios. they've been trysting to strengthen their portfolios. but when we provide these loan guarantees through the sba or provide cheaper money to them that they can then lend out and as long as we'reonitoring them to make sure they actually lend it to small businesses, they are the ones that are most likely to get the money out the door. this bill is very important. it has been held up now for a couple of months unnecessarily. there was an article in the "usa today" just about three weeks ago that said small businesses were actually holding off on
hiring because they weren't sure whether some of these tax cuts that they were goin to get, as well as some of these lending facilities would actually be set up. and you hear some of my friends on the republican side complaining that, well, we get more business investment if we had more certainty. well, here'sn example where we could give some certainty right away. pass this bil i will sign it into law the day after it is passed or the day it is passed. and then right away i think a lot of small businesses around the country will feel more comfortable about hiring and making investments. >> well, this is what's happening right now is that, you know, i have coracts and i am ready to hire 20 more people. but nobody is going to give me additional loan right now. a i mean, i had an off the record conversation with the vice president of one bank and they said it's simply we've made a decision not to loan to small businesses. it's simply more profitable to
us to invest this money elsewhere. >> well, that's why it's so important to make sure that if they are getting help from us hn terms of having more money to lend, that they actually lend it out and they lend it to small businesses. and we've got to make a direct link between the help that they're getting and them actually lending the money. that's goi to be critical. all right. who's next? yes, over here. hey, wendy. w are you? >> i am so honored -- i'm so honored and delighted to be here, thank >> you must be john's younger sister. >> yes, definitely. no, he's my kid brother. and i actually am the stringer in from boston with that hockey team you're meeting with this afternoon. >> there you go. i've been looking forward to congratulating them. >> i would tell you just a little story, which is when i was in high school here at woodson high school, i got involved in historic preservation. and i worked on an archaeology d
dig. i researched the history of an old house. i helped move the one house logato schoolhouse out in the country in to town hall to restore it as a piece of our county's history. and that launched my lifelong career in historic preservation. and so i guess -- and i know you are interested in history and have studiedparticularly, i think i've read, president lincoln and the way he created a cabinet and so on. and so i know you value our nation's history. and i guess my question for you is, what areour thoughts tabou what we're doing in your administration to invest in preserving our nation's history d our historic places? and one leittl job-generating idea i'd give you is that all the studies show that renovating existing buildings, restoring historic buildings is more iv
labor-intensive than materials intensive. it creates more jobs. they're local jobs for local people. hoping that might be part of your jobs strategy if. >> i am a huge booster of historic preservation. if i wasn't, michelle would get on me because she used to in chicago be on theistoric -- on the landmarks commission there. and we live in a landmark district in chicago. so this is something that we care deeply about. i guess i'd broaden the pointato sa that not only should we be thinking about historic preservation, but we should also be thinking about our national parks, our national forests. you know, there's this treasure that we inherited from the previous generation dating back to teddy roosevelt.
and that requires us to continually renew that commitment to our historic structures a our natural resource base so that when trevor and i'll -- and olivia and those guys have their kids -- when you guys have your grandkids, that that stuff is there for them too. so we have actually tried to ramp up our commitment to these issues where we can put a little bit more money into it. but a lot of it's not just more money. it's also more planning. and the recovery act gave a range of grants to state and local governments in some cases around preservation issues. one other point i want to make, though. you were mentioning how renovation oftentimes will actualenerate more jobs thanon
new construction. a related idea is what we can do to make our existing buildings energy ing stock meor efficient, because it tns out that we could probably cut about a third of our total energy use just on efficiency. we wouldn't need new technologies. weouldn't need to invent some fancy new fusion energy or anything. if we just took our existing building stock and homes and insulated them, had new windows, schools, hospitals, a lot of big institutions, we could squeeze huge efficiencies ts of that. there's a lot of waste to be had. and that would benefit any -- everybody. it would mean that over time, we were helping to save the planet by redung our carbon footprint. people would be paying less on their electricity bills and their heating bills and their
air conditioning bills. so it helps consumers. the problem -- the reason we haven't done more of this is because it's -- requires some capital on the front end. a lot of school districts, for example, would love to retrofit eir s chools, but they're having problems just keeping teachers on payroll right now. so they always put off those investments. one of the things we tried to do through the recovery act and something that i know that jerry and jim have been interested in is something called home staenr that we've been working on -- is to essentially provide families as well as small businesses, as well as institions like schools hospitals grants up front where we say, all right, we're going to give you $10,000 to retrofit yo building or your house, and then you're going to pay us back through your savings on utilities over a five-year period, for so that over time, it doesn't
cost taxpayers a lotf o money, utng we're essentially giving some money up front that's going to then be recouped. i think there are a lot of ideas that we can pursue on that front that could really make a difference a put a lot of people back to work, whether they're the folkselling the insulation at home depot or the small ntractor that for a long time wa remodeling kitchens or putting in home additions. ybe th business has dried up. this would be a new area for them to get put to work. and about one out of four construction -- one out of four jobs that have been lost during this recession are related to the construction industry in some fashion. that -- you know, those folks have been hit harder than just about anybody else. this would be an important boost for them. >> can i add to that one quick thing? >> pref sident obamamen the backyard of a home in fairfax, virginia, speaking to area residents. about 30 people. area esidents, small business
owners. pretty broad ranging conversation that he's gone through. he's talked abo taxes. he's talked about credit and loans to small businesses. he was talkingut landmark architecture. range.anning the whole our senior white house correspondent ed henry is with us. he's been listening to that. ed, what was that meant todo? and did it do it? >> reporter: good question, which is bottom line, this is kind of a throwback to the 2008 campaign. you remember in states like iowa when he was just kind of introducing himself to the american people, he was trying to say let's go back -- instead of door to door, let's go to the backyard literally and talk to real folks. let them ask some questions. and this white house believes the more they can get the president in those kinds of situations instead of standing arnd in washington th other guys with suits on talking about this tax cut or that tax cut, actually go to the pple who it's going to impact, they think it's better for the president number one. but number two, i think they're trying to get this message out
there. the president i jotted down a couple of things. i know it's slow. i know it's hard. he saidev that in cleland last week as well. but we've stopped the bleeding and i've never been more confident about the future. ronald reaganesque future is bright, i feel your pain, it's going to get better. i thought it was remarkable when you had that one gentleman who is involved in clean energy projects tt the president was holding up, the presidentumped on it. you want to hire more people? 20 more people. y haven't you? the banker just told me he can't give me any more loans, they don't want to give loans. you've been reporting on this. tter than this be anybody. there are all kinds of small business people saying i'm rdy to hire more people. i can't get the credit. one of the rsons the president has talked about the small business lending bill tied up in the senate for a few weeks. hoping to get that passed this week or next. front and center the president saying let's create jobs and this guy saying i'm ready to but the banks won' let me. >> ed, does thisme get the
president somewhere in terms of the criticism that you mentioned he's been facing in the last two weeks -- that's he goes to factories or political events and doesn't do what bilclinton did, i feel your pain. does this achieve that for him? >> reporter: maybe. he has tried, we should say. the white house to main street tour. he's been trying to get in people's living rooms and backyards. maybe he can do more oft and maybe we'll see more between now and november. they do feel like it's making some headway because we were talking about ohlast ur john boehner seeming to shift a little bit yesterday on cbs's "face the nation" and go more en line with the president's position. to be sure boehner saying i want to extend all of the bush tax cuts including those for the rich. but when pinned down if it' only the middle class tax cu et to be extended i'm ready to do that. our producer deidra walls has gotten new information that in private some republicans are frustrated with boehner because
they feel he shifted his sition because now speaker pelosi is thinking about coming bill to stand-alone just push the tax cuts for the middle cls, sething they'd love to do to get the republicans on record about. >> ed henry our senior white house correspondent. we'll check in with you a little t again, ed. > many school districts are starting the school year with fewer resources than they had last year. our next guest district is starting with fewer schools. we talk to kansas city superintendent about drastic cuts and radical solutions.
somewhere in america, there's a doctor who can peer into the future. nu there's a nurse who can access in an instant every patient's past. and because the whole hospital's working together, there's a family who can breathe easy, right now. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest healthcare questions. and the over 60,000 people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers.
in shop talk we continue to look at ways to fix our schools. few school districts have experienced as many challenges over the last 30 years as kansas city. in the late 1980s the district got a $2 bilon budget boost from a desegregation ruling so it built a huge magnet school.
with a huge state of the art theater. many other cutting-edge features. it enrolled nearly 75,000 years but over the years the student body has dwindled and the district's budget. earlr the kansas city school system caught our attention when the superintendent announced he would cut half of the schools and a third of the staff just to stay afloat. this months about 17,000 students in the district returned to the remaining 34 schools wondering how the school year would work, let alone be successful. joinincg me john covington, superintende of kansas city schools. thank you for being with us. wow, you had a very interesting of this year at the end of the previous school year. major cuts. what drove the cuts that you had to make? >> well, ali, we we facing a $50 million shortfall. and if we had not taken drastic
meases to reduce that, we would have been lookingt a negative fund balance by october of 2011 of $6 million. so we had to cut back. we had to streamline the budget to make sure that we were making better use of the useful -- the resources that we had available to us, placing those resources where they belong, which is back in the classroom with teachers and students. >> so yours was the microcosm of what is going on in this country. you have got budget shortfalls. you have to rationalize your resources. at the same time you have students not rforming at an adequate level. nine out of ten kansas city graduates from high schools were unprepared for college level math. half needed help for reading inr college. so you're changing the system now at your elementary schools. you're using a standards-based system. can you explain to me what that's about? >> absolutely. when you consider the fact that
uren our students in the united states are compared with our international counterparts -- in china, india, and other industrialized nations -- and we rank kind of middle of th pack. then when you look here at kansas city at our student population and see that they are t faring nearly as well, we had to do somethg very drastic to make sure the students were acquiring the knowledge and skill they needed to become what we call competitive on the economic or in the economic marketplace. and so as a result of that, we went to a standards-based syste where time becomes the variable rather than the constant. are moving kansas city, p souri, school district away from that old paradigm of you do "x" amount of time in the first in nine months and then you progress to the next level. we wanted to make sure the students were mastering the competencies and skills they needed at one level before moving or prodegreesing to the
next level. and not only that, being able to demonstrate what it is they can do as a result of what it is they've learned. so that standards-based system is doing that for us and it allows students to progress through levels rather than be tied to time. an interesting idea although it's different from other public tschools. what is the net effect? is it a student that would normally go from the ninth through the 12th find themselves this the 9th great for two years? what's the net effect on students? >> we're starting the program, ali, in five of our elementary schools. and the classes are multi- -- they include multi-levels of students. and when students master the skills inone particular area, they don't have to wait on their classmates to move forward. they move forward when they're ready. and as a result of that, we can
ensure that students are ready to tackle the rigor of the next level rather than be socially promoted to thein next grade knowing full well that they're not ready to do so. >> very interesting conversation. you have a big challenge ahead of you. john covington, thank you very much for joining us. we'll keep in touch to see how this develops. it's an interesting change you're making. the superintendent of kansas city, missouri, schools. as the school year gets under way president obama will deliver his back to school eech tomorrow geared to parents and students alike across the y.countr catch here on cnn at 1:00 p.m. eastern. then we'll have as we always do when he speaks about education a ussion on thisdisc show. you know the questions aboul if you have a criminal history, if you check thato bgex you've lowered the chance to get the job. if you're a minority it's probably worse. now local governmo ts want t take a look at that. i want to give my 5 employees health insurance,
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it's a tough lot for a lot of people to get a job these days. but if you're black, male and have a criminal record you can imagine what the chances are. now some state and local governments are trying to change that by banning the bo stephanie elam explains. >> reporter: gene mays knows all too well what a criminal record can do to a jobs search. on the top of hisch class in high school he dropped out of college and began selling coke to support his habit. >> once i started doing cocaine, it justo shot straight to the p as far as my priority list. >> reporter: in 1989 he went to drug trafficking. heme served his time, paid his dues. >> octob the 7th,1997.
and that's the day that i got clean. name and angle -- >> reporter: flash forward a decade. mays nowwaarriednd a father was studying to become an electrician to better provide for his family. >> i did something that they said had never been done and that was got 100 on each one of the 12 tests during my first year. >> reporter: despite this, the city of cincinnati revoked the electrician job offer. this is mays' lawyer. >> the city looked at gene, saw he had two felony convictions in the pastnd said, therefore, you can't work for the city. it dn't care about his rehabilitation. it didn't care that he was ranked number one in his class each of the five years of the electrician's training program. >> reporter: singleton successfully fought to get cincinnati to ban the box removing the criminal history question from its jobs applications. employers are free to ask the question later in the hiring process. the point is to give
t -offenders a chance at an interview. >> what iis is giving people a fair shot to compete for jobs where they're qualified. >> so this box issue, is it more of an issue fo people of color, for black men? >>tatistics bear outhat if you're a peon of color, you're more likely to be the focus of the elpolice. you're more likely to wind up in e criminal>> justice system. >> reporter: this summer connecticut joined minnesota and new me ixicon banning the box on state job applications, while massachusetts and hawaii ban all employers from using the box. massachusetts state representatiames miceli is against softening these laws. >> i want to give everyone access to all of the information rerding someone's criminal record that they can get. why not disclose everything up front? >> reporter: but victor garcia, a professor of surgery and pediatrics in ohio, believes there's a dttwirec correlation between unemployment and the young peophole w end up in his emergency room.
>> chronic joblessness is a direct cause for the growth of the illegal or informal economy. and with that is a culture of gunshowounds. >> reporter: now clean for nearly 13 years, mays is working for a transit company. but he never did get that electrician's job. >> once a felon, always a felon. so that's what generally leads a person back to the life of crime, because they feel like once they've committed a crime, that it's no use now. what i hope can come out of this is that those same individuals that were thinking like that can now have a sense of hope. elam, rter: stephanie cnn, cincinnati. okay. today's "mission possible." rufus hannah used to be meless. he was exploited for a series of videos called bum fights that showed homeless people performing dangerous stunts in return for beer and vodka. a businessman befriended him and
they have written a book about the experience called "a bum deal." and they join me now. thank you for being with me. i appreciate you joining us. let's talk about this for a second. barry, you met rufus even before he wa involved in bum fights. tell me how you guys know each , other. >> yes, ali. one day i was walking my property of the apartment complex that i own and all of a sudden i saw a homeless man standing in front of my dumpster. i wasn't very kind because thea day before someone had dfecated right in the same area and i had to clean it up. so on this particular day as i walked to the homeless man, i told him to get the heck out of here, i'm calling the police. he started telling me i'm a veteran and start s. going to his wallet. i said i don't care if you're a veterinarian but inside the dumpster w another homeless manley scavengi for cans. he jumped and really scared me.
that happened to be rufus hannah and told me i was ruining his route. i got them to leave and they started moving. as i got closer to my office an older gentleman named mr. harkins who is 90 years old like an old baptist minister had me come over there and sit by him. and during this time, i told him about the homeless guys i just removed from my property. he told me no no uncertain terms that jesuswouldn't likete me an i'd better cnge my ways and i better hire them immediately. >> wow! >> not knowing i was jewish. as they got closer, i offered both rufus and donny employment. asong as you're there at 10:00 tomorrow, you have a job. and to my surprise at 10:00 the next day -- >> there was rufus. >> rufus and donny was there. >> hey, rufus, you've been working for a long time. you were a carpenter, i believe. were you a construction worker. you went off into the army. you got injured in the army. you came back and things started to go wrong for you.
now you actually counsel the homeless. what do you tell people who are homeless? what of your experience can you share with them that helps them out? >> i like to tell them that people -- i believe one of the first things is if you see a homeless person, don't just so ignore the person. there's a story behind everybody, every person. and i like to get comfortable with that person and see what their story is. and just kind of feel my way and take it from there. don't like to put pressure on the person. i like for the person to be comfortable and be able to talk and express what their feelings are. >> barry, what's the book about? is it the book about your relationship with rufus or is it somethingth that helps people hp the homeless? tell me what it is. >> it's a combination, ali. it starts out rufus having beer in a baby bottle. and goes into when i meet him and how i get to know him when he starts working for me as an
human being, not as a de-hugh man i -- dehumanizing person. it really made a difference in my life. it shows as down as you can get -- he was way,heay down. he was victimized terribly d whe today he cannot drive a vehicle. he has to use mass transportion because of vision problems because of bum fights. that you can make a major change. you can make a difference in another person's life. i think that's what the book talks about, how rufus, with all these problems, wasak able to me this remarkable change. i always thought it would behe e other homeless gentleman, donny brennan, because he -- rufusnd i never got along very wasll. till one day i was bringing him some hamburgers, which i had two in the motel forwe about weeks. and as i brought these hamburgers in, rufus said, what is this in & ou you never talk to me. i said i never thought you could
talk. >> that's my main point -- >> go ahead. >> from the beginning, you know, i did not like barry. i did not like barry at all. i felt like he was up to n something and i just didn't trust people in general. and it took time for me to feel comfortable even to confide in barry. >>ntwell, that's excellent. that's a great part about the story. it's very much why we do this segment, to show h everybody's segment can change and people can change. thanks very much for joining us. rufus hannah and barry soper, authors of a new book. for more information on how you can help the homeless xw to my blo cnn.coali. some democrats are pushing nancy pelosi to keep all those tax cuts for the rich in place. what's that about? senior white house correspondent ed henry back with the ticker when we come back. my mom, my business partner, that's my wife... look, you've got people.
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it is time for a cnn equals politics update. what have we here? cnn senior white house correspondent ed henry with t hour's politic headlines. ed, what's crossing the political ticker>> right now? >> i can do the stakeout. i can do the ticker. whatever you want. very versatile. white house spokesman rert gibbs firing back at newt gingrich who suggested ovethe weekend that the president has what he called a ken anti- colonial world view. robert gibbs saying on "good morning america" he doesn't really know what iteans but insumes newt gingrich is t tryi to appeal to t fringe of the republican party.
pelosi under pressure as well. speaker nancy pelosi, some good reporting by our congressional producer deidra wallace on the ticker, basically moderate democrats in the house are writing a letter to the speaker saying we're not in favor of just m extending thec middle cl tax cuts. we want to extend all the bushl tax cuts at leastou tefmporaril. they're nervous if you don't raise the tax cuts for the rich it will end upes raising taxes d hurting the economy further. interesting because as t we tald about john boehner last hour, some republicans frustrated with his comments. it's not neat and clean. not like all the republican support just extending all of the bush cuts. there's a little pressure on leaders in both parties because some of the candidates are all over the map. finally new year, no buet. don't worry, it's not happy new year yet but only upcomingas october 1st. as you know, the start of the fiscal yea for the government. turns ou congressional democrats who are in power right now are not going to have budget in time for october 1st
so they have to do it on an ad hoc basis. c should say republicanshen theyer were running the chamber also had those issues but makes you wonder if neither party can get a budget in place by october 1st maybe that's why sometimes we have some of these spending issues there. >> ed, wonderful to see you in this role. >> i'll do almost anything for you? >> you were excellent. >> i won't d the quest segment, whatever that is. reciate -- i want to know who t voice is. >> we can't tell you about that. >> who is the voice? >> thanks for asking, ed. catch you tomorrow. ed henry. your next cnn equals politics update an hour away. it's a word that you probably heard before. it sounds almost profane but don't worry. you won't have to cover your ears. [ male announcer ] give yourself an edge.
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"wordplay" on a term used in drilling called fracking. it's the epa actually holding a contentious hearing about it today. it's a shorter kind of a nickname for hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting oil from deep undergund. what happens the rock is not porous enough to allow gas to escape freeman so millions of gallons of water and chemicals are blasted down the line to open up cracks or fractures in the rock. potential from groundwater contamination from those chemicals -- drilling companies say they take precautions. not a lot of agreement on that.